7 Tips on How to Take Car Keys Away From Your Loved One with Dementia

June 26, 2017

The biggest and hardest question is ....

when should you take away car keys from your parents?

Your parents are the ones that most likely helped you gain driving privileges in your teen years. It all seems so wrong when later in life you are the one to have to decide if your parents should continue to drive or not.

Answer this.

Would you let your young child drive?

Most likely your answer is no. In my opinion, a parent with dementia is functioning on a child's level. They don't have common sense and sometimes their brains just don't work fast enough to be able to drive safely.

Our Story

October 2013

We had a sign a few months before taking my mom's car keys away. My mom was in a car accident. She changed lanes without looking and hit into the side of a US postal worker's truck. The accident mostly damaged my mom's car. My mom's car had to be towed because one of the tires was messed up. My mom got her tire fixed by a tire shop, paid a ticket, and had to pay money to the US postal. She continued to drive after this because we didn't realize she had dementia at the time. My mom had never been in a car accident that was her fault until this time.

December 2013 - Beginning of 2014

When we were trying to figure out what was going on with my mom at the first, a neurologist asked me if I wanted her to contact the DMV and relinquish my mom's driving privileges. I agreed and told her "yes, please". This was the first step for us to take away my mom's keys. We still didn't know her diagnosis at the time. My mom still would drive after her driver's license was canceled. My mom was in denial. She thought she was just fine. I will be forever grateful to this neurologist who stepped up and helped us out. I don't know what we would have done without her help.

We had to eventually take the car keys away from my mom. My mom was smart and had made several copies of her car keys prior to this. We had to continually take her keys away because she kept coming up with another set of keys. We even disconnected her car battery so her car wouldn't start. We even had to bring her car to my house, so there wasn't a car for her to drive anymore.

Beginning - Mid 2014

My older brother took my mom to the DMV to try to take a driving test so she could try to be able to drive again. My mom had such a hard time trying to figure out the touch screen for the test. My mom tried two times that day. She failed both tries. My mom went home with a driving booklet and knew she could try to take the test again another day. She never asked to take the test again or to drive again. She never opened up that driving booklet to look at it. The test was to hard for her and she knew it. My mom eventually got use to not driving. It took quite some time and she even seemed sad and mad about not being able to drive again at first.

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Tips on how to take car keys away

1. Get guidance from a doctor. Specifically ask the doctor for advice on driving with dementia. Ask the doctor if they feel like it's safe for your loved one to continue to drive. You may have to ask the doctor when your loved one isn't present. Sometimes we would have to have two people go to the doctor appointments so one could talk to the doctor privately and the other one was waiting with my mom in the waiting room or one would stay in the room with my mom while the other was outside the door speaking to the nurse or doctor by the nurse station.

2. Ask the doctor to cancel your loved one's driver license by having them send in a cancellation to the DMV.

3. Tell your loved one that they can continue to drive if they can pass a driver's license written and driving test.

4. Take the car keys away.

5. Disconnect the car's battery.

6. If all else fails, take the car away to someone else's home, and have it stored away from your loved one. This way they won't be tempted to drive.

7. Never leave your car keys or any type of car keys in your loved one's presence. Don't tempt your loved one.

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

I know all of this is easier said than done. Trust me, this is one of the hardest trials we went through with my mom. It was a stressful time. Just realize that this is a stressful time, but you will get through it.

If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would have taken my mom's keys away sooner. I would have stepped up and taken control from her. Unfortunately, when you are going through something like this, it's so hard, & I didn't know what to do at the time.

What are your stories with trying to take car keys away from someone with Dementia, Alzheimer's or older family members? Do you have any tips for others? Leave your tips in the comments below.

You Might Also Like


Thank you so much for your comment! :)

Popular Posts